In many respects, Colorado is leading all cannabis states into the 21st century of cannabis regulation. On a seemingly monthly basis, Colorado confronts first impression cannabis issues with which other states have yet to grapple. One of those emerging issues is how to regulate edibles and marijuana-infused products. Washington and other states are just beginning to visit this topic, but Colorado seems already to have a deep love/hate, “we get it”/”we have no idea” relationship with regulations for infused marijuana products.
Edibles and infused products create charged emotions due to (both real and perceived) issues involving potency, quality control, youth appeal, and youth access.
Maureen Dowd’s now infamous New York Times piece about her rabid “overdose” on marijuana-infused chocolate undoubtedly greased the wheels of anxiety and paranoia for marijuana regulators in Colorado. But since that piece, the debate over how to treat marijuana edibles and infused products has gotten more heated over reasons other than bad press: “accidental ingestion” by anyone, but most specifically by kids, is apparently Colorado’s biggest beef with edibles regulation. How to “package, color, and stamp” these products to prevent inadvertent over-consumption or unintended ingestion is in the forefront of the minds of regulators and industry players alike and though no one solution has revealed itself, most everyone agrees that edibles education makes sense. Most also agree that edibles and infused products should be in child-resistant packaging, at a minimum.
Despite all of the rhetoric surrounding the edibles issue, Colorado does not yet have any good data on whether the existing edibles regulations are effective or not. There is no meaningful data or evidence of astronomical rates of accidental consumption or over-consumption, child poisonings, or even cases of discomfort, Maureen Dowd excluded, of course. The same thing can be said for Washington State at this point. Though Washington has added regulations covering edibles and infused products, there have been no confirmed reports of over-consumption or accidental consumption due to faulty labeling or packaging.
Though we have no doubt that there will be cannabis product liability cases involving packaging and labeling, state regulations so far seem to be doing their intended job of keeping the public safe in both recreational states. We are also seeing extensive self-regulation out there by cannabis businesses interested in avoiding problems. Many of our clients undergo regular audits to confirm that they are complying with both state and local packaging and labeling laws and with industry best practices.
So, our message to Colorado (and to Washington and other states looking in) is to give current regulations a chance before piling on even more Let cannabis entrepreneurs show everyone how responsible they can be before strapping their products with even more red tape.